New U.S. Postal Inspection Service data obtained and analyzed by the News4 I-Team shows robberies and assaults against postal carriers are up across the country, and one postal insider says it’s likely connected to the spike in mail theft during the pandemic.
The I-Team obtained Postal Inspection Service data and found across the country there have been more than 2,000 assaults or robberies against postal carriers since 2020.
In the D.C. region, the I-Team found close to 180 incidents – 133 assaults and 44 robberies.
“You don’t have to rob a bank anymore,” Postal Police Officer’s Association President Frank Albergo said. “You just rob your letter carrier, gain access to a blue collection box or a relay box, and boom, you have thousands of dollars.”
He said the holy grail for many criminals is obtaining what’s called an arrow key, which can open multiple blue boxes in a community.
“These arrow keys give access to collection boxes, apartment panels, relay boxes, cluster boxes,” Albergo said. “So instead of getting a few letters, they are actually getting tubs and satchels of mail.”
The Evidence-based Cybersecurity Research Group at Georgia State University has been studying the issue and found stolen arrow keys from around the country including the D.C. area being sold on social media for thousands of dollars. The director told the I-Team his group noticed a recent spike in stolen checks from the Maryland area and now the state ranks in the top five when it comes to stolen checks they see for sale online.